Amazon claims to be "Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company". At least one book suggests "Employees First, Customers Second". Does an organization have to choose? Is this a zero sum game where attention to one group, subtracts from focus on the other? Is good customer service possible without high levels of job satisfaction?
The savviest organizations recognize that their non-customers are important too. Former customers have something to teach you, as do your competitors. Potential customers can help you learn why they've not chosen to connect.
The good news: there's no dilemma or choice. The common denominator is people. That recognition leads to a simple idea. Make the cornerstone of your organization valuing, learning from and developing relationships with all. Developing the specific ways to interact and learn from each group becomes easy.
"Customer service is about making customers happy. Company culture is about making employees happy. So let's just simplify it and, at the same time, amplify our vision for our customers, employees, vendors and peers."
- Treat all people with the respect and value that they deserve. Repeatedly reinforce this principle, remembering that acting on it is what's most important.
- Use this principle to develop the specifics for most effectively dealing with each group.